Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, January 16 , 2019, 3:08 am | Overcast 54º


Susan Estrich: Why Democrats Love Bernie Sanders

Why do Democrats love Bernie Sanders?

OK, it's not just because he's "cute" (as some younger voters are calling him). In point of fact, could someone tell me when 74-year-old bald Jewish men became America's symbol of "cute"?

Larry David pulls it off, but I'm not so sure about Bernie Sanders.

It is also not the case that the only reason, or even the primary reason, that people are voting for Sanders is because of some grave, if not fatal, flaw in Hillary Clinton's candidacy.

That's not fair to Clinton, and it's certainly not fair to Sanders.

My sense is that most of the people who are voting for Bernie Sanders are doing so for the reasons voters usually do: They think he understands their problems; and he gives voices to their concerns.

And this is taking place in the context of a nominating process that, on the Democratic side (sorry, my Republican winner-take-all friends, who used to mock us for the tedious aspect of our process), is absolutely and intentionally structured to advantage insurgent candidates and make it more, not less, difficult for the winner to win.

Can I say it? Sanders is more liberal than Clinton.

Sanders' assault on Wall Street would, depending on who you talk to, either destroy the American economy or at least change it radically.

Clinton is not a radical. She has also spent too much time in Washington trying to actually get things done to run around with "pie in the sky" promises of free college for everyone, along with a chicken in every pot.

We can't afford to send every student to college for free. Some of them don't belong there. Many of them have taken loans that they can and should pay back for the sake of the next generation. 

He is also a very likable guy: from all appearances a smart, well-meaning and decent man, who actually believes in what he says.

And unbridled by the need to do it, or even show how he would, he speaks with great sincerity of the land of opportunity he hopes to keep building.

I'm glad he's in the Senate, and I can imagine a 30-year-younger version of myself (slightly deluded into believing that women had achieved equality) being attracted to a candidate who doesn't have to choose his words carefully or think three steps ahead about diplomatic consequences because no one in the Kremlin is really paying attention — not like they are paying attention to Clinton and, God help us, Donald Trump.

So the fact that Sanders is doing well in processes that are as skewed to the left (as the Republican processes are skewed to the right) should not cause waves of panic among the Clinton faithful.

Sure, it is right to ask whether his success should cause Hillary-ites to carefully examine weaknesses in her campaign.

But it is just plain wrong to assume that because a well-meaning socialist could defeat Clinton in a low-turnout caucus filled with true believers she is vulnerable to Trump or Ted Cruz in a general election.

Susan Estrich is a best-selling author, the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the USC Law Center and was campaign manager for 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. Click here to contact her or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >